CEP 817: My Problem of Practice Incubation Journal

It’s interesting how “mulling over ideas” can generate new ideas in a completely different direction. Carrying this spiral bound notebook with me for the better part of a week has allowed me to catalog things that have popped into my head. The first entry was on March 13th while at our annual Survival Flight Spring Conference at the Livingston County Emergency Complex in Howell, MI. This is where I started thinking about how I could use this incredible resource to provide instruction and integrate training here into my curriculum. I also started an inventory (certainly not all inclusive) of what I already have and what I could “repurpose” for my internship curriculum:


March 16th I was at my other job at West Michigan AirCare and I began talking with one of my colleagues about curriculum design and instruction. While he has some experience with this, he is just a flight nurse like me with no formal training. Having said that, we started looking at different methods in which to provide information (not necessarily instruction):


A couple of days later, I began my “Part 3” of my Ideate Mode exercise. Following a 45 minute, and very productive Brainstorming session with my crew (2 nurses and a pilot), my drive home gave me some time for further thought and reflection:


Yesterday, I was able to put down on paper, how each of my 10 modules will look. This was quite a breakthrough as I feel with this template, along with my core objectives, that I can start to put together my curriculum!!


A valuable week-long exercise that I feel started me in the right direction


CEP 817 Lab Exercise: “Mind Priming” (Actively working and thinking on my problem)

My initial thoughts, notes and great tools that I picked up while going through the Module 4 Lecture material:

  1. Mind Tools – to help me with brainstorming activities
  2. Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From ($12.99 through iBooks)
  3. Vertical Measures- Six Creative Ways to Brainstorm Ideas

Since I don’t have a great place yet to catalog resources, I will start here!

Below are my notes and initial thoughts for my problem (creating an engaging curriculum for the Survival Flight Nurse Internship Program)

CEP 817 Prob. of Practice Idea Notes CLICK PHOTO FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

Post “Incubation” Notes and Thoughts…

  • I am not alone in this. I have practicing flight nurses who would be willing to help
    • I will need to limit the size of the task and make it quite specific
  • I will engage the interns in creating their own learning:
    • Presentations based upon objectives I give them
    • A lecture / exercise in self-directed learning
    • Interns will create small (5-15 minute) presentations on topics related to objectives. They will present to the flight nurses (increase in the stakes)
    • Weekly “Big Subject Matter” Discussions
    • Weekly “Debrief” Sessions to ensure objectives covered and “on the fly” curriculum adjustment / revision
  • Mini Brainstorming sessions during opportune times:
    • Staff meetings
    • Visits with staff during downtime
    • Case Review
    • During staff evaluation periods
  • Create lecture material based upon small “snippets” of time (“Survival Flight in 5” Concept)
  • Remainder of curriculum competency and simulation-based
  • Still at a roadblock when it comes to “INNOVATION”
  • Checklist of Big Items so everything covered

Process Reflection

Rather than a “work – incubation – revisiting the problem” lab exercise, this was a “work – incubation – roadblock – incubation – roadblock – revisiting the problem” process. The incubation period(s) definitely helped dissolve “roadblocks” for me. If anything, a little rest helped “rejuvenate” neurons long enough for some rational thought. Honestly, I was amazed at my ability to progress through part 1 of this lab exercise. From that, I was able to create several ideas as well as remember that I have things that I created previously that I can incorporate into this new curriculum. Between utilizing my previously written core objectives, ideas from other sources as to what a curriculum needs to look like, and brainstorming sessions, I feel that this will take shape.

I have learned several important pieces of information from this exercise:

  1. Taking a break can be more productive to idea creation than non-stop, arduous work on a project
  2. Innovation is a team sport. I don’t need to be the sole proprietor of this
  3. I can take what I already own and recycle it
  4. I can take what someone else owns and recycle it for a different purpose.
  5. In relation to points 3 and 4, it doesn’t always have to be “original”
  6. If innovation is important to me, I need to make time for it.
  7. Be prepared to fail, but don’t be scared of it; learn from it.

CEP 817 Problem of Practice – Define Mode (Part 2)

As stated in prior posts, I have been given approval for a Flight Nurse Internship Program. This program is designed to take competent Emergency and/or Critical Care (ICU) nurses, and turn them into competent flight nurses within a year time frame. Since this program is the first of its kind in the country, there is no one to benchmark and a problem exists in that I need to create a new curriculum, from the ground up, in four (4) months. This is a rather volatile environment from an educational perspective as demands are high and success of this program imperative given the current and future staffing crisis that Survival Flight faces. As I discovered in my Root Cause Analysis exercise, the impetus for this problem and my need to create a new program is that the demands for this job has changed to the point that finding qualified candidates to replace “seasoned” flight nurses has become exceedingly difficult.

The audience/users of this curriculum is the nurse interns themselves, as well as nursing leadership within the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS). This program demands success and there is little margin for error. Many administrators within the UMHS nursing community will be monitoring this program because of the hope that it will serve as a template for future internships in which there is a critical need (e.g., Nurse Management positions and specialty care areas).

As I feel that I have identified the needs of my primary users, the definition of my problem and the root cause for this problem, I can now purposefully formulate an action plan. As I still am unclear HOW to develop this curriculum, I will start where I normally start when needing to solve a problem: Literature Review and Benchmarking. I plan to “beg, borrow, and steal” ideas from anyone and everyone that I can think of with curriculum development experience, regardless of discipline. I plan to use my professional network that has grown significantly since my entrance into the MAET program 2 years ago. I plan to continue to read on the subject of curriculum development and innovative education. From this “raw data” I plan to piece together a curriculum based upon my core objectives that have been approved by my medical director and endorsed by our accrediting body (CAMTS). This is the direction that I plan to start and will “tweak” as I go.

CEP 817 Problem of Practice – Define Mode (Part 1)

Challenge Related to My Initial Problem of Practice Statement : (https://paulmaz41.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/problem-of-practice/)

The challenge that I currently face is that while I have written core objectives, I am unsure what the modules will look like, how to write curriculum and how to implement the program in a manner that will prepare these novice nurses for practice.

  • “5 WHY’s” — Root Cause Analysis
      1. Why am I unsure how to write this new curriculum?
        1. Because I have never written a curriculum before
      2. Why have I never written a curriculum before?
        1. Because until now, I have not had the need to write a curriculum
      3. Why has there not been a need to write a curriculum?
        1. Because we have never had a formal training plan
      4. Why have we never had a formal training plan?
        1. Because training needs are far more complex
      5. Why are training needs far more complex?
        1. Because we are transporting sicker patients and the demands for this job have changed
  • Why – How Ladder

cep_817_pop_why_how_ladder CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW

  • POV Madlib: [USER] needs to [USER’s NEED] because [SURPRISING INSIGHT]
    1. The pensive Survival Flight Nurse Intern needs to create engagement for his / her own learning by creating his / her own curriculum.
    2. The Survival Flight Nurse Intern needs to learn within a structured environment because this will ensure that core objectives are covered.
    3. The Survival Flight Nurse Intern, who has yet to be challenged to the degree that is required of regular Survival Flight staff, needs to experience a challenging training program, because the clinical requirements and demands are greater than they have been in previous years.

CEP 810 Final Thoughts

What I learned during CEP 810 was rather narrow with broad potential. I learned how to use Twitter. I learned what an RSS Feed is. I learned how to create a Sniglet, a Popplet, a blog and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich using a spatula. I learned the basics of XCode and how to post to YouTube. I had fun and learned about pieces of technology that I never knew existed or needed to exist. I also learned how to learn. 

I entered the MAET program not knowing how to use technology in learning, only that I wanted to introduce technology into my curriculum. I now realize that the use of technology is secondary to “why” to use and “how” to use it. I know that technology can serve a primary purpose, or be repurposed for something innovative. I am beginning to learn that I do have creative potential and that quality education requires separating myself from traditional norms. I learned that technology has a much broader definition.

There are still questions that loom for me. How do I stay on the cutting edge? Can I keep up with my newly formed network? In what ways can I repurpose the technology that I am learning, arguably geared to the K-12 crowd, for medical education? How can I learn innovation while at the same time teach my students this skill? I learned somewhere that quality learning creates more questions than answers. CEP 810 is one of the first classes in this curriculum that has done that for me. What still makes me nervous is catching up and keeping up.

But for now, I have much to integrate into my own practice. I have a solid 21st century lesson plan that I can use for a multitude of modules. I can use it as a teaching tool and evaluation tool. I have a new set of skills that will allow me to learn and implement instruction in ways that will benefit my group. Most importantly, I have a spark that will help me move forward in my primary mission: to create innovative and engaging methods of instruction in which to evolve the next generation of flight nurses. I want to make them better than I could have ever been. I feel like I am finally learning what this means and how to move forward.


SF Logo

Paul M Mazurek, RN, BSN, CCRN, CFRN, NREMT-P, I/C

Educational Nurse Coordinator

University of Michigan Survival Flight


MAET Degree Program Candidate

Michigan State University

What I Learned from “Cooking with TPACK” (and the versatility of my “IronMan Spatula”)

In this quickfire activity, I was tasked with creating something in the kitchen from tools that I may, or may not normally use (the tools were selected prior to the task) for the job at hand. I immediately figured out how to adapt the tools for the job (referred to in our lesson as “repurposing”). As I write this post, what immediately comes to me is that in education, there is an almost limitless set of tools in which to help teach, reinforce or provide perspective. While these pre-existing tools may have a specific purpose, it is the task of the educator to utilize these tools with unique objectives in mind for his / her teachings. Just as I had to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an “IronMan Spatula,” tools, apps, websites and other educational advances are “repurposed” in innovative ways that will help the student not only learn the material, but perhaps discover creativity and innovation on their own.

As Kereluik, Mishra and Koehler (2011) state “teaching must continually shift and evolve based on the contexts within which it is applied; and teachers practice in a highly complex, dynamic environment,” I learned in this brief exercise that evolving and adapting are two skills that I must possess as an educator in order to not only be at the cutting edge of my own practice, but continue to be relevant for those that I educate. If I am not able to display these characteristics in a thoughtful manner, how can I teach my students to be creative, innovative learners? With the mindset of repurposing, I now feel that I have an idea for a marketable tool that will allow PB&J’s to be created without the grotesque act of mixing the “PB” with the “J.” This is something I would not have been able to do without the inspiration of “TPACK!”

Kereluik, K., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2011). On Learning to Subvert Signs: Literacy, Technology and the TPACK Framework. The California Reader, 44(2), 12-18.

Final Blog Post to My CEP 810 Networked Learning Project (NLP)

My objective over the last 4 weeks was to build an iOS App. As I have zero programming experience, I was unsure of the magnitude of this project. This however is something that I have always wanted to create for my job. While the use of this type of technology is not necessarily new to healthcare, I wanted to tailor it to my practice as a flight nurse with the hope of making good flight nurses better.

While a pretty lofty goal considering my lack of computer experience, I thought I could learn some basics over the course of 4 weeks. That was something that I was able to do. However, it wasn’t without multiple roadblocks. In order to make an iOS app, you need to have the programming language software. For iOS apps, this programming language is called XCode. This part was easy enough to get as it is a free download. XCode only runs on Mac Products which while seemingly intuitive, became a big problem for me as my 6 year old MacBook decided to crash a few times during my learning. In addition to the basics of a new programming language, I learned that I had patience!

My primary source that I used to learn this new skill was the YouTube Channel “Code with Chris.” While I tried other sites like lynda.com and the Apple Developer’s network, I obtained the most knowledge with the YouTube Channel. During the 15 video lesson, I went from basic nomenclature all the way through learning how to write various strings of code, what it meant, and how to tie the programming language with what you see on the iPhone or iPad screen. The final “product” so to speak is the card game “war.” While seemingly simplistic, from a computer programming language perspective, it has just the right degree of complexity for beginners. I had to create an image asset file, place the images on my game board, give button commands and randomize cards.

While I feel that I have learned a great deal, I also realize that I have not even scratched the surface of what is required in order to build the apps that we are all accustomed to in the Android or iOS App stores. Having said that, I feel that I am well on my way. This approach to learning is very good for me as I can do it at my own pace, I can rewind and repeat lessons and being able to follow along with a seasoned expert is invaluable. It has given me the confidence for deeper self-discovery and I anticipate that I will be well on my way to a basic level of proficiency with this program language within the next year. Because of the “Code with Chris” YouTube Channel, I have found additional and equally valuable resources that I will be able to use in order to practice and hone my skills. All that I needed was a start and this project and the new network that I have created for myself will be the driving force for continued proficiency.

The link to my YouTube Video can be found here: Mazurek Network Learning Project